Feb 172012

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

As posted on February 4, 2012, (Sri Lanka Independence Day), today was the pre-consistory day of prayer and reflection, featuring a keynote address by the larger-than-life cardinal designate from New York City, Timothy ‘Miller‘ Dolan on the topic: the announcement of the Gospel today, between ‘missio ad gentes‘ and new evangelisation.

As reported by the Vatican, this Extraordinary Consistory (i.e., expected to be attended by all possible cardinals from around the world), started, per schedule, at 10 a.m. Rome time, in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall. 84-year old Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the College, and another larger than life figure, kicked off proceedings with an introductory speech.

Dolan, who spent 7 years in Rome in the early 1970s (researching the spiritual benefits of a pasta-heavy carbohydrate diet hydrated with hop-based liquids), was expected to do his presentation in broken-Italian. Taking the lead from John Paul II (#265) he started by apologizing for his rusty Italian. He also tried to make a joke about the ‘cardinal red’ — the obligation of cardinals, from time immemorial, to shed their blood for the church.

This Extraordinary Consistory concluded at 5 p.m. Rome time (11 a.m. U.S. Eastern) with Vespers.

The Vatican in a bulletin about this pre-consistory, consistory said: ‘Of the total of 213 members of the College of Cardinals, including the twenty-two new cardinals, 133 were present. The absentees presented their excuses for reasons of age, health or earlier appointments.’

Well the good news, actually GREAT NEWS, is that poor, once snubbed, Fr. Karl Josef Becker, S.J., has, of course, made a miraculous recovery and was able to attend — though the Vatican has yet to tell us where the faithful will be able to find him tomorrow evening post-consistory.

Then the numbers.

133 attended — but that included the 22 designates. That means that only 111 existing cardinals, out of the College of 191, attended this Extraordinary Consistory. That is noteworthy. 58%!

At the November 19, 2010 equivalent 126 existing cardinals attended — and the then College had 12 less hats!

58% attendance at a Extraordinary, in modern times, is scandalous!

During the 2005 sede vacante we saw up to 78% attendance in Rome.

There is a story here! This more than the leaks tell us, the Vatican-watchers, that all is not right at the Vatican.

Refer to the ‘Consistory‘ TAB right at the top, above the banner ((↑)), for all the requisite links, including those for the February 18, 2012 consistory.

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